Video presentation to the 8th International Conference on Mental Health and Psychiatry, Frankfurt, August 16-17, 2023
1. The codependent controls from the bottom. She uses her neediness and clinginess to rule and to extort her intimate partner. The Borderline surrenders to her intimate partner: he is tasked by her with stabilizing her moods and regulating her emotions.
2. Abuse is the glue that holds dysfunctional relationships together: it is proof of love and identified with it. Healthy people walk away when they are victimized - the mentally ill bond and get attached.
3. The mentally ill prefer objects to people and attempt to objectify others. Objects are more predictable and controllable.
4. Approach avoidance repetition compulsion should not be confused or conflated with intermittent reinforcement. The first is a reactive pattern to the twin anxieties: abandonment vs. engulfment. The second is the coercive control technique that results in trauma bonding.
Borderlines often feel that the only things they have to offer are sex and drama. Their dysregulation is their only asset. They are but a spectacle.
5. The empty schizoid core at the heart of disorders of the self (such as narcissism and borderline) is habituated: gradually it becomes a choice. Absence of being guarantees invulnerability and impermeability.
Invulnerability signaling is at the core of the grandiosity of the psychopathic narcissist: a defiant “see if I care” attitude, no one and nothing have the slightest power over me, I never get attached, emotions are weaknesses, I am a free spirit, a law unto my own.
This attitude leads to some counterintuitive behavioral outcomes.
The psychopathic narcissist never engages in mate guarding. His message to other men: “The women in my life mean so little to me that you can have them, if you wish. They are dispensable, fungible, and interchangeable. They have no power over me, nothing they do matters or has the capacity to hurt me.”
Another example: “Go ahead and plagiarize my work and my ideas. They mean little to me. I can generate revolutionary breakthroughs faster than you can steal them!”
Harvey Cleckley, the author of “Mask of Sanity”, was repeatedly stunned by what he called the psychopathic narcissist’s “rejection of life”.
The ultimate in invulnerability signaling is all-pervasive ostentatious apathy: the profound neglect and abandonment of all personal goals and plans and behaving in ways which are in your face self-destructive - as if one couldn’t care less about one’s wasted life and looming devastation or demise.
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